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Getting Involved

Board Meeting Summary, September 21, 2021

Note: Recordings and documents for agenda items can be accessed via BoardDocs by clicking on the corresponding agenda items

Curriculum Update

Canyons Superintendent Dr. Rick Robins announced an administrative action to immediately suspend the use of “Second Step” in Canyons District schools. This social-emotional curriculum will not be used in Canyons schools until the Board can meet again on Tuesday, Oct. 5, when the Board of Education and Administration can fully discuss the issue after it has been appropriately noticed on a public-meeting agenda. At the next Board meeting, the Administration anticipates having options for the Board of Education to consider regarding social-emotional learning. The Administration also will propose a timeline for the creation of Canyons’ own curriculum by in-house instructional experts. Robins told the Board of Education that the philosophy behind social-emotional learning is to engender trust, respect, and unity. The District is finding that the ‘Second Step” curriculum being used in CSD schools, although supported by many, has links to information that may not meet the community’s expectations.  CSD is required by Utah State Board of Education rule to provide a social-emotional curriculum, but the District seeks to provide a program that meets the needs and wants of the community.  


An evaluation team will soon visit Canyons District in October as part of an ongoing systemwide accreditation, a process used by schools, colleges, and universities to maintain high standards of educational quality and integrity. School Performance Director Cindy Hanson told the Board of Education that the accreditation team will meet in October with the Board of Education, Superintendent, stakeholder focus groups, district-based administrators, and community representatives. The accreditation visiting team will provide a review of the visit with general feedback on areas of strength and areas for improvement.  The final report will be sent to the District six to eight weeks after the end of the review. Only two other school districts in Utah have gone through the systemwide accreditation process. 

 Nutrition Services Update

Orange chicken, macaroni and cheese, and pizza are among the top menu choices of students in Canyons cafeterias, said Nutrition Services Director Sebasthian Varas, who presented an update on the student-meals program. This is the second year that all children eat lunches and breakfasts at no cost, regardless of their family income, thanks to a waiver provided by the USDA. A massive operational challenge for the school year, Varas said, is staffing. Unfilled are 65 kitchen and cashier positions, he said, making it a challenge to provide multiple menu options and a high level of customer service. He also said the supply chain of food items, paper products, and cleaning supplies has slowed considerably.  Varas said his team works hard to meet federal meal pattern and nutrition standards, including the amount of fruits and vegetables that needs to be served. Varas said nutrition service workers in CSD served 2,386,475 lunches and 841,694 breakfasts in the past school year. Participation on the lunch and breakfast programs have skyrocketed since it was announced that all meals are free. The average daily participation tally for lunches rose from 9,313 in 2020-2021 to 17,342 In 2021-2022. Some 3,615 students are eating breakfast at school, compared to 1,488 last year. Varas said students will be served meals at no cost to their families until at least the end of this school year. He noted that construction crews continue to work on the installation of kitchens at the new Alta, Brighton, and Hillcrest high schools. For food-safety reasons, he said, sandwiches will be served at the trio of schools until the kitchens are operational. 

School Community Council Training Update

Canyons this year has provided training to 250 members of School Community Councils at schools throughout the District. One hundred percent of Crescent, Quail Hollow and Ridgecrest elementary SCC members have attended the required trainings, said Public Engagement Coordinator Susan Edwards.  Ninety-five percent of principals also have attended the trainings, which have been presented at the District Office over the course of several weeks. All schools in Utah must have an SCC, which is made up of parents, staff, and the principal. SCCs in CSD review school data, identify school needs, establish school goals, and allocate funds toward accomplishing those goals. They play a major role in creating a school’s LAND Trust Plan, Teacher Student Success Plan, a Digital Citizenship Plan, a School Safety Plan, and a Positive Behavior Plan. SCC members also advise on an electronic device plan and safe walking routes. 

Arts Education

A significant number of students in Canyons participate in secondary-school arts classes, according to figures provided to the Board of Education by arts education specialist Sharee Jorgensen. However, she noted, the participation numbers dipped during the COVID-19 school year.  This could be due to the fact that it is challenging to both teach and participate in arts classes via an online format.  Information about the success of the Beverley Taylor Sorensen Arts Learning Program in Canyons schools was presented to the Board. Jorgensen also told the Board that the District’s visual arts collection has been updated, a customized inventory program for rentals created, and the elementary orchestra program broadened.

Patron Comment

The following patrons addressed the Board. Recordings of their comments can be found on BoardDocs:

  • Parent Emily Davis spoke about social-emotional learning programs.
  • Stacie Petersen spoke about the District’s strategic-planning process.
  • Student Sarah Hamilton spoke about Alta High’s instrumental-music classes and how the recent remodel has affected the program.
  • Student Tyler Hansen spoke about the remodel at Alta High that has impacted the instrumental music program.
  • Eli Glende spoke about the remodel at Alta High that has impacted the instrumental music program.
  • Student Alex Miller spoke about the remodel at Alta High that has impacted the instrumental music program.

Consent Agenda

The Board of Education approved the Consent Agenda, including the minutes of the Sept. 7, 2021 meeting of the Canyons Board of Education; approval of hire and termination reports; purchasing bids; student-overnight travel requests; and August financial reports.

Policy Update

 The Board of Education is considering adoption of a new Special Education Policies and Procedures Manual. CSD’s manual has been updated in accordance with Utah State Board of Education rules.  The Board is scheduled to vote on the manual adoption at a future meeting. 


The following students were recognized for their achievements:

  • Alta High Marching Band and Colorguard for winning third place at the Oquirrh Mountain Band Invitational.
  • Alta High’s Violeta Martinez, for receiving the Juror’s Award of Best in Show for her 3D work, “Stages of Grief,” and Ethan Johnson, a Congressional Award winner with an Honorable Mention for his piece titled, “Black and White” at the Springville All-State Art Show.
  • Fifteen students from Alta, Brighton, Corner Canyon, Hillcrest and Jordan high schools for being named semi-finalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholar selection process. 

USBA Training

Members of the Board of Education discussed recent trainings provided by the Utah School Boards Association.

 Open Meetings Training

General Counsel Dan Harper conducted required training on the state’s Open Meeting Laws.

Superintendent, Business Administrator Reports

Dr. Robins thanked those who had participated in the meeting and clarified his remarks about the community engagement at the start of the school district.

Business Administrator Leon Wilcox introduced Ryan Jakeman, the District’s new Risk Management Coordinator. He also updated the Board on ongoing renovation and construction projects at Alta, Brighton and Hillcrest.  He also reported on the meeting with Alta High instrumental-music students who have concern about the school’s remodel. 

Board of Education Member Reports

 Mrs. Clareen Arnold thanked parents, teachers, students, administrators and school staff who make Parent-Teacher Conferences successful. She also reported on attending SCC training, and asked parents to talk to their children about social-media challenges that lead to destruction at schools. She also encouraged those who are struggling with challenging emotions to reach out for help. 

Mrs. Holly Neibaur thanked Mrs. Arnold, an educator, for her perspective on the Board, reported on attending an assembly that urged teens to curb their cell-phone use, and commented on the alleged uncivil behavior of fans at a recent football game involving a CSD team.

Mr. Steve Wrigley thanked Dr. Robins for his leadership, reported on attending the Utah School Boards Association conference, and the memorial for Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover.  He also said he appreciated hearing from and meeting with constituents. 

Mrs. Amanda Oaks reported on attending the Digital Safety Night at Draper Park Middle, and said she appreciated the approach of the Alta High students who advocated for the instrumental music program.  She also said the memorial for Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover, a Hillcrest graduate, was touching.  She expressed appreciation for all parts of the CSD community for helping CSD run so smoothly.   

Mrs. Amber Shill thanked Dr. Robins for engaging with patrons during the stops on the Listening Tour, noted the schools’ observation of Constitution Day, and reported on conducting mock job interviews at Brighton High. She thanked principals for the balancing act they must face with students, faculty and the community, especially in COVID-19 years. 

Mr. Mont Millerberg remarked on the civility and professionalism of the Alta High students who spoke about the band room renovation, noted Canyons’ plans to mark Constitution Day, and remarked on the memorial to honor fallen Staff Sgt. Taylor Hoover. 

President Tingey remarked on Constitution Day and the memorial for Staff Sgt. Hoover, a Hillcrest High graduate. 

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Lucie Chamberlain

Alta View Elementary

If a movie about super teachers were ever made, Lucie Chamberlain would be a prime candidate for a leading role. Fortunately for her kindergarten students at Alta View Elementary, she already thrives in a supporting role for them. Parents thank her for being a “super teacher.” She is also described as an “amazing colleague.” Whether students need help in the classroom or from home while sick, Lucie goes above and beyond to help them learn, overcome fears, and feel important and cared for. Lucie is the reason a number of kids went from hating school to loving it, according to parents. The way she exudes patience, sweetness, positive energy, and love for her students with special needs melts is appreciated and admired. One parent noted: “Both my kids wish she could be their teacher forever.” Another added:  “She treats every student like their learning and their feelings are her priority.” Super teacher, indeed!

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